Return to:   Q Methodology

The Q Methodology

You may remember that Carl Rogers one of the key contributors to the humanistic approach used the Q-sort technique in humanistic psychotherapy. His adaptation of Q Methodology (Stephenson, 1953) helps judge self-esteem and personal growth. It helps indicate the individuals (poor) perceived self, and ideal-self.

While Rogers popularised the Q Sort technique, it's parent, Q methodology is applied more generally in political science. The Q methodology is a quantitative measure of subjective data.

Gerard Keegan & His Psychology Site is delighted to have Professor Steven Brown of Kent State University, Ohio point us towards further information about Q methodology as used at the interface of politics and psychology.

Brown, Steven

Kent State UniversitySteven R. Brown is Professor of Political Science, Kent State University, where he has taught since 1967 in the areas of political psychology, methodology, and the policy sciences. He received his doctorate from the University of Missouri and his research has revolved around a central interest in subjectivity, as described in his Political Subjectivity: Applications of Q Methodology and Political Science (Yale University Press, 1980). He was a founding member of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, the International Society of Political Psychology, and the Society for the Policy Sciences, and has served as editor of two scholarly journals as well as editorial board member of several others. His interest in subjectivity is manifest in articles and book chapters on topics such as political and group psychology, literature, policy sciences, and theory and methodology. Currently, he is at work on projects on value clarification, quantum foundations of subjectivity, and decision-making, among other topics.

Q methodology

While currently under revision for the Journal of the History of the Human Sciences, Steven suggests we first have a look at "The History and Principles of Q Methodology in Psychology and the Social Sciences", which can be accessed at:

Following that have a look at Qualitative Health Research, 1996 (November), 6 (4), 561-567 Q Methodology And Qualitative Research at:

If that whets your appetite a three-hour workshop on Q is available via streaming at the Q web page:

While a "Q Methodological Tutorial" is at and consists of a series of postings to a qualitative methods list. This is of value because it takes the controversial nature of Q methodology itself as the focus of a study using Q technique. The results of the technique reveal the various understandings at issue.

Finally please have a look at 'Representativeness and the study of political behaviour: An application of Q technique to reactions to the Kent State Incident' by Steven R Brown and Thomas D Ungs of Kent State University.

Note - due to the size of the above PDF you may wish to download it to hard drive before opening it, in which case - right click on it and select from the menu "Save Target As...". Select the location you wish to save it to and press ok.

Kent State UniversityThe incident to which this research refers was when the National Guard opened fire on students protesting against the Vietnam War at Kent State University in May 1970. Four young people were killed.

The Kent State shootings did more than anything to change American public opinion regards US involvement in Vietnam.

For those at university who can access it there is a very good piece on the same event forthcoming, which may have already appeared by Laffey, M. & Weldes, J. (2004, July), entitled "US foreign policy, public memory, and autism: Representing September 11 and May 4," Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 17(2), 355-376.

Professor Brown can be contacted at

Memo May

<<< Back to Research Methods Home
<<< Back to Case Study
Talk about A Psychology Research Investigation in the forum!
Buy books in Gerard's Bookstore, or keep up to date in music trends with Bobo's Beat!
Switch to:
Research methods and the Correlation
Psychological Processes
Fun Learning and Teaching Stuff
Back to top
Back to top
Back to top
Back to top
Back to top
Area 51

[ Sign my Guestbook] - [Read my Guestbook ]